brother G’s youngest turned 4 yesterday (4 on june 4 — golden birthday!) and he (G) sent out the following picture the day before:
one of the most wonderful things about kids is when they reach the age where they can and do dress themselves. the combinations of shirts and pants and socks and tutus and tights and shoes they put on is awfully endearing.
it’s also how they learn (a) how to put on clothes and (b) which clothes match, or not, depending upon the intended end result.
they figure out (a) by if they’re mobile in their clothes and they understand if (b) is correct by judging their parents’/siblings’ reactions. much laughter probably means they should turn around and try a different combination of clothes from the closet.
which got me thinking about writing.
we first have to learn (a) how to write and plot and create and dream and (b) if the story, plot, characters match.
we can figure out (a) by writing and writing and writing some more and we’ll know if (b) is working based upon the reactions of our critique partners, agents, editors, beta readers, real readers (depending upon what level of publication you’ve reached).
but the most important thing i realized from my nephew’s current fashion sense is that the beginning/the learning/the figuring out of clothes/writing is messy, crazy, and silly, as it should be. the only way to learn what’s right is by doing what’s wrong. it’s also very important not to take life or your outfit or your manuscript too seriously because where’s the fun in that?
cheers to mismatched socks, plots, and birthday cakes.